Why I Chose a Career in Mental Health
Touro Alum Spends His Days Bringing Help and Hope to Those in Need
Levi Rapoport, alum of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Touro’s School of Health Sciences talks about his passion for mental health and helping others improve their lives.
Why did you choose mental health as your career path?
Growing up as the child of a Chabad Rabbi, counseling people was something I was aware of from a young age. As a teacher, I often had to act as an amateur therapist with my students and their parents. I was introduced to formal psychotherapy through personal experiences in my adult life. I began to see its value across the board of human experience, including for those for whom religion provided a grounding sense of existential value but lacked the technical tools to implement optimal emotional and social coping skills.
What do you love about the field?
I love bringing hope where there was hopelessness and despair, and clarity where there was confusion. I enjoy helping people acquire emotional and social coping skills. And I love showing people what they had all along, and then their discovery that they no longer need me.
What surprised you most about the field?
First, how much psychotherapy has to offer, even to people who are accomplished thinkers and are devoutly religious. Second, how much misunderstanding there is in the general population about what psychotherapy is and is not. Third, how there are so many different modalities of psychotherapy which seem so different, but upon deeper understanding are very much the same. Sometimes I can integrate cognitive therapy, internal family systems and attachment theory into one intervention. For example, if a client is having unhealthy rage towards their partner, I can help them understand what attachment needs they are being deprived of, what language they are using to process and exacerbate this irritation, how to change that internal dialogue to a healthier one which can help sooth their attachment needs, and change their unhealthy rage into healthy frustration, which in turn will invite a better response from their partner.
Why did you choose Touro for grad school?
Touro recognized my Yeshiva education and allowed that to contribute to the coursework needed to earn my undergrad degree and gain acceptance to the master’s program. Additionally, I was seeking a school that would not challenge me to compromise my religious values.
Can you describe your current position?
I currently work full-time in my own private practice in Crown Heights Brooklyn. Before the pandemic, I was working as a school therapist in the same institution where I was once a teacher, as well as some other local elementary and preschools. When the pandemic began, I moved into private practice full time and I have since then almost exclusively been doing teletherapy. I find the work fulfilling and enjoyable. My current work is primarily with adults dealing with everyday life issues and the anxieties they bring, including relationships, work, financial struggles, self-esteem challenges, etc. I think there’s no better way to live my life than helping others live their lives better.